Disabled People should be Allowed to Criticise the Poor Care they get

Chronically ill people often get poor healthcare.

One of the most important institutions in the United Kingdom is our National Health Service. It is a service that everyone – except perhaps the rich – completely relies upon. Our system is infinitely better than countries that don’t provide public healthcare. People’s health should not be determined by their finances.

Yet, the NHS has come under increasing attacks since 2010. The health service has faced tighter and tighter squeezes on its funding. It’s an outrage that the NHS should face this. It is our most important service. But the reaction has been to proudly defend the NHS as it is, rather than its concept. The result is that many important conversations are seen as a political betrayal and so are silenced – because not everybody gets good care on the NHS.

The NHS has huge problems with racism and inadequate training or services for queer people. Trans people can be left waiting for years to be able to medically transition because the services just aren’t available. But the NHS isn’t even good at just treating specific health problems (if we ignore the fact that health issues come because a human being has them). They’re inept.

So many chronically ill people face shocking treatment on the NHS. We get told to do yoga, go for a walk, take anti-depressants or that our pain is in our head. None of these things actually go anyway in order of tackling the underlying health issue. Furthermore, the irrational and puritanical nonsense around pain medication can make GPs reluctant to prescribe appropriate pain medication. If you’re a cis woman too, your pain is often doubted or brushed off as though it can’t possibly be as bad as the patient actually says.

“We get told to do yoga, go for a walk, take anti-depressants or that our pain is in our head”

Chronically ill people get fobbed off, told to come back if it gets worse and rarely get the specific long-term care or support that they need. Chronic illness is so often a lonely battle and a battle against the health service. It can be a fight to be taken seriously, to be believed or even for a doctor to finally acknowledge that they just don’t know what’s going on.

The NHS can be a difficult and cruel system to navigate sometimes. The cuts have only made it worse. We should still though be allowed to discuss poor quality of care without fearing that it will lead to greater cuts. Disabled people should not be silenced. Healthcare so often fails us.

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